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What is a Radon Test?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 13 July 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Radon is a radioactive gas that is produced from decaying uranium. Inhaling radon can cause lung cancer in humans. Since radon is invisible and lacks an odor and taste, it is recommended that a radon test be done to check the levels of this gas in the buildings where people live, study, and work.

Radon is typically released from the soil and rocks. It can enter a building through cracks in the foundation, spaces around pipes, and cavities in a wall. Without a radon test, people cannot be sure whether or not they are being exposed to the gas.

Radon can enter a person’s home through the water supply. This is considered most likely for people whose source is well water. If an air test shows positive results for radon, a person may want to have their water tested as well. Professional assistance may be needed for this task.

Some buildings are built with radon resistant features. People are generally not advised to rely solely on this for protection. It is still recommended that radon levels be tested.

In the United States, a radon test can generally be conducted quickly and for relatively low prices. There are numerous professional radon companies. When a building is being sold, it may be required that a radon test be done by a certified professional.

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A homeowner can also get a kit that allows him to conduct the test himself. There are short-term and long-term tests. There are also various types of tests, such as charcoal canisters and continuous monitors. These may be available at a building and home supply store or from companies on the Internet.

Generally, people are advised that they should place the test kit on the lowest floor of the building that is being tested. It is also normally advised that windows and doors be kept shut for long periods before a radon test is conducted. After the test has been completed, laboratory analysis is generally required to determine the results. This means that most test kits must be mailed away.

If a radon test reveals that the levels are above what is considered safe, that does not mean that the building must be deemed uninhabitable or demolished. There are radon reduction systems that can be very effective in reducing the amount of radon to a level that is considered safe. If radon is found in a water supply, this can also be corrected.

Radon is not generally limited or specific to any area. The gas can be found in one city and not in another or it can even be found on one block but not on the next. Radon levels in one building can also fluctuate. These changes are sometimes seasonal. This means that a test in one season may not accurately represent the levels of radon at a different time of year.

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